Economic Growth



About this Item
SpeakersTsang The Hon Henry
BusinessDivision


ECONOMIC GROWTH
Page: 17258

Debate resumed from 7 May 2009.

The Hon. HENRY TSANG (Parliamentary Secretary) [4.49 p.m.], in reply: As I stated on a previous occasion before being interrupted by the Greens and the many Private Members' Business items, I wish to thank members for their contributions to the debate. I note the annual report of the State's finances by credit rating agency Standard and Poor's, which found New South Wales has a "strong balance sheet" and "demonstrated fiscal discipline". The report reaffirms our State's triple-A credit rating with a stable outlook. As the Treasurer, the Hon. Eric Roozendaal, said:
      This is good news for the families and businesses of New South Wales, adding to confidence as we see the green shoots of recovery coming through.

The New South Wales Government has taken some tough decisions that have allowed us to keep our economy strong during the global recession. The number one priority of the New South Wales Government is supporting jobs. That is why in the 2009-10 budget we announced a $62.9 billion building program over the next four years that will support around 160,000 jobs per year. The global economic crisis has impacted on Australia. New South Wales is not immune from the crisis and has been hit hard, with job losses in the finance and services sectors. Job creation remains the New South Wales Government's top priority. Indeed, as Premier Nathan Rees said, the 2009-10 budget invests in jobs. He said further:
      The New South Wales Government has delivered a Budget focused on investing in better hospitals, schools and roads and supporting jobs.

      It confirms the New South Wales Government's singular focus—supporting jobs across the State. In the face of a global recession, the New South Wales Budget is investing in a better future for New South Wales.

As the Premier said:
      I am determined to see New South Wales come out of the financial crisis in a stronger position than we went in.

New South Wales is well placed to weather the storm, as it is the engine room of the Australian economy. Our State's economy was valued at $360 billion in 2007-08, or about 32 per cent of Australia's gross domestic product [GDP]. Sydney alone accounts for almost one-quarter of Australia's GDP. New South Wales recorded its highest ever level of business investment, and the highest level of any State, in the year ended December 2008. Business investment grew by an annual average of 10.3 per cent in the five years to December 2008. In the year to December 2008, business investment also increased by 10.3 per cent. New South Wales recorded the strongest growth of all States in retail sales over the six months to the March 2009 quarter, with 3.7 per cent growth.

I repeat that over the next four years New South Wales will have the largest infrastructure program of any State in Australia—a $62.9 billion program that will sustain 160,000 jobs each year. This includes expenditure of $18 billion alone in 2009-10—the largest ever infrastructure program in a single year by the New South Wales Government. As the Treasurer said, the 2009-10 budget does not introduce any new taxes and it supports our State's hardworking families. It contains record investment on essential services of $53.9 billion. The Government will continue to support New South Wales businesses to win business overseas, as part of our commitment to growing the State's economy. In 2007-08 about 190 New South Wales companies took part in the State Government's program of trade missions, exhibitions and individual market visits. These trade missions will continue to generate economic growth, jobs, exports and opportunities for our State, helping us to weather the global economic crisis—particularly as economic growth in China and India, despite easing, remains strong. In April China set new import records for copper, aluminium, zinc, nickel and iron ore, suggesting that the country's economic recovery is underway.

In this global economic downturn we need to build confidence in our State's economy. We do not need an Opposition running down New South Wales's reputation as the engine room of the Australian economy. I therefore oppose the amendment to my motion by the Hon. Matthew Mason-Cox. He is trying to run down our State's reputation. The honourable member should withdraw his amendment and the Opposition should work with the Government and people of New South Wales to reinforce our State as the engine room of the Australian economy so as to attract investment to New South Wales and create jobs. The Opposition should support the Premier's initiative in engaging Asia, a region that accounts for seven of our top 10 trading partners, to promote New South Wales exports in order to preserve and increase job opportunities for the people of our State.

The Premier is committed to the growth of the New South Wales economy. The Premier recognises that engagement with Asia is vital for economic growth. It builds on our State's geographical proximity to Asia and our ethnic and linguistic diversity. Asia is our State's most important trading partner and largest export destination. The Premier, recognising this, has developed a bold agenda for promoting New South Wales business with Asia in order to create jobs and opportunities for the people of New South Wales. In April the Premier visited the United Arab Emirates to promote investment and job creation in New South Wales, meeting with government and business leaders to promote Sydney and New South Wales as a destination for business and tourism. As the Premier said, "We are focused on jobs growth and will be targeting international investment to help create jobs at home." This is part of the Premier's bold agenda for promoting business with Asia.

The New South Wales Government, led by Premier Nathan Rees, has delivered a serious and responsible budget for serious times with a massive investment in infrastructure to support jobs, to cushion the economic downturn and to build for the future. The budget has been well received. Credit rating agencies have responded positively to the budget. Both Moody's and Standard and Poor's have reaffirmed the State's triple-A rating. The latter has upgraded the State's triple-A rating from negative to stable. I, therefore, urge members to agree with the credit rating agencies of the State's triple-A rating, to support my motion encouraging growth in the New South Wales economy and to increase confidence in our future, thereby creating opportunities and jobs for the people of New South Wales.

Question—That the amendment of the Hon. Matthew Mason-Cox be agreed to—put.

The House divided.
Ayes, 15
Mr Ajaka
Mr Clarke
Ms Cusack
Ms Ficarra
Mr Gallacher
Mr Khan
Mr Lynn
Mr Mason-Cox
Reverend Dr Moyes
Reverend Nile
Ms Parker
Mrs Pavey
Mr Pearce


Tellers,
Mr Colless
Mr Harwin

Noes, 20
Mr Catanzariti
Mr Cohen
Mr Della Bosca
Ms Fazio
Ms Griffin
Ms Hale
Dr Kaye
Mr Kelly
Mr Obeid
Ms Rhiannon
Mr Robertson
Ms Robertson
Mr Roozendaal
Ms Sharpe
Mr Tsang
Ms Voltz
Mr West
Ms Westwood
Tellers,
Mr Donnelly
Mr Veitch

Pairs

Miss GardinerMr Hatzistergos
Mr GayMr Macdonald
Question resolved in the negative.

Amendment negatived.

Question—That the motion be agreed to—put.

Division called for and Standing Order 114 (4) applied.

The House divided.
Ayes, 16
Mr Catanzariti
Mr Della Bosca
Ms Fazio
Ms Griffin
Mr Kelly
Mr Obeid
Mr Robertson
Ms Robertson
Mr Roozendaal
Ms Sharpe
Mr Tsang
Ms Voltz
Mr West
Ms Westwood

Tellers,
Mr Donnelly
Mr Veitch

Noes, 19
Mr Ajaka
Mr Clarke
Mr Cohen
Ms Cusack
Ms Ficarra
Mr Gallacher
Ms Hale
Dr Kaye
Mr Khan
Mr Lynn
Mr Mason-Cox
Reverend Dr Moyes
Reverend Nile
Ms Parker
Mrs Pavey
Mr Pearce
Ms Rhiannon

Tellers,
Mr Colless
Mr Harwin

Pairs

Mr HatzistergosMiss Gardiner
Mr GayMr Macdonald
Question resolved in the negative.

Motion negatived.

Pursuant to sessional orders business interrupted to permit a motion to adjourn the House if desired.